The Cuckold Phenomena
The Cuckold Husband / Hotwife Phenomena
Dr. Cherry Lee, Ph. D.
(Dr. Lee has lectured and published in the area of analytical psychology, and she developed one of the first electronic systems for the quantitative analysis human behavior.
She started her counseling work by leading gestalt therapy groups. Apart from this, her several decades of professional experience has been largely limited to urban, affluent, female subjects.)
What Has Spurred the Cuckold Husband/Hotwife Phenomena?
Although motivations for the cuckold husband/hotwife phenomena actually cover a wide spectrum, here we’ll cover a few of the most common.
First, the husband may suspect that his wife is becoming interested in experiencing sex with someone else. He may value the relationship and not want her to jeopardize things because of the deceit and secrecy that normally accompany affairs. In short, he wants to know about and approve any extramarital sex, and even have some control over it. The cuckold husband wants his wife’s sexual encounters with men to be for sex only, with no marriage-threatening emotional entanglements. In this respect it is similar to attitudes about extramarital sex now held by many of the younger people in Japan.
The mass media often cast beautiful and desirable women as both sexy and prone to sexual liaisons. Whereas this type of woman used to be considered a “fallen woman” or even a “whore,” in some minds she now seems to represent an enticing new standard.
Some women used to brag about how they could avoid marital sex, and despite the views of some radical feminists, such women are now suspected as being man-haters, latent lesbians, or simply having personal problems. Now, many women find a certain excitement in being viewed as sexually liberated. For some, especially some older women, there may be a certain ego gratification in still being viewed as being sexually desirable — even discretely promiscuous. While holding to the security of her primary relationship, she may revel in experiencing sexual freedom.
At the same time, most cuckold husbands want their wives to appear ladylike on the surface (in public.). But, among select men, they want they wives to be known as and “not hung up about sex,” or even “great lays.” Although this type of wife was once considered a threat to husbands — and it still is to most — the more psychologically secure males believe that a healthy and well-adjusted (and desirable) woman enjoys sex, and has the right to be just as open about it as men.
Plus, the husbands involved may pride themselves in being secure enough to handle a hotwife. He may even brag to another man about how his wife loves sex and can’t get enough (which, not coincidentally, may be very much in contrast to the attitude of that man’s wife). Implicit in the comment is that the husband has no problem with this, and that, in fact, he thinks his wife is pretty “hot.” In many cases sex within the marriage has waned or grown dull and routine and the husband may get vicarious excitement in seeing (sometimes literally) his wife remain sexually active.
Many women realize that other women regularly enjoy “good sex,” and although many wives have grown ambivalent about sex within their marriages and are reluctant to try new things, these barriers frequently fall with the expectations of new sexual partners. With new men there appears to be unspoken desire to “not disappoint” and “to be good in bed.”
Even though she may have started to have doubts about her sexual desirability, as a hotwife she will probably find that men are again interested in her. For some women this can constitute a kind of new “sexual awakening.”
This transformation can be quite disturbing for a husband who isn’t prepared to handle it. These issues are discussed in much more detail in the next chapter.
In some circles a woman may wear a bold ankle bracelet on her right ankle to tell men “in the know” that she’s a hotwife. (At the same time, most women who wear ankle bracelets do so without realizing the possible significance.) Once seen as a hotwife, she may flirt with select men, making it clear that she’s available for sex.
Women As Sex Objects?
Many women feel that being a hotwife turns a woman into a sex object. This seems to be primarily based on the premise that enjoying sex is a masculine prerogative. However, more and more women are finding that this is not so.
Most women have lived their lives trying to act “like proper women” and shunning men “who have one thing on their minds.” Now, according to one woman, “I let guys know I like sex.”
Thus, she may soon get beyond, “what other people will think” and concentrate on the pleasures of the sexual experience — in particular, experiencing regular orgasms. This is often bolstered by the excitement that surrounds the culturally taboo aspects of a married women having sex with other men.
Often the Husband’s Idea
All of this notwithstanding, the cuckold husband/hotwife phenomena is typically the idea of the husband who not only knows about the high number of female affairs, but is even sexually excited by visualizing another man having sex with his wife.
According to one husband, “I had to really change my view about how a wife is supposed to be, especially with guys finding out she’s ‘easy.’ But now I can sort of get off on having a woman that guys know is pretty hot. Fact is, instead of being embarrassed or defensive, I now sort of brag about how she loves sex, and then I casually mention that this sure makes her a lot different than most wives.”
According to another husband, “…after a while I got into the idea of encouraging her to let guys give her all the sex she can handle. …She’s settled on several guys she likes and she gets it from at least one of them almost every day. I don’t mind her going off with a guy for a few hours; I don’t feel like I have to take her out — they do that. In fact, I have to admit, I sort of get off on knowing [when she goes out with a guy] that he will soon have her clothes off and be in her. I can kind of get of on visualizing them going at it.”
From her husband’s perspective, if he can rid himself of the “fallen woman baggage” that pervades most of our culture, the fact that she is pursued by men, makes herself available to men, and is frequently bedded by men, introduces a bit of competition for her. This can strengthen the husband’s resolve to “treat her right.”
Or, things can move in the opposite direction, with the husband feeling that, to a degree, she is no longer “his,” and he may find himself emotionally distancing himself from her. If such feelings aren’t effectively addressed and resolved, they may seriously damage the relationship. Things aren’t helped when his change in attitude is accompanied by her (however transient) excitement about new men in her life.
From the husband’s perspective there is sometimes a “taming of the shrew” element. He may fantasize about a powerful (safe) man sexually awakening and dominating her, and forcing her to break free of sexual inhibitions. Some husbands know how exciting a new sexual partner and experience can be, and want to offer some other men this experience with their wives.
A husband may also fantasize about having a wife that is, to a degree, driven by both a physical and a psychological need for sex. Visualizing or seeing first-hand other men meeting this need in her —but only with his permission— may excite him.
The Woman’s Perspective
Women have a different perspective on being a hotwife, of course. According to one woman, “I’ve got a sense of freedom in enjoying the company of men and not being paranoid about a jealous husband, or even being worried about what people will think. If I want to do it with a guy, I have the freedom to let it happen.
At the same time, the hotwife does not want jealousy or resentment to ruin her marriage or threaten the unusual freedom she enjoys, a freedom she knows that very few husbands would be willing to grant. Therefore, she needs to be careful to be totally open and honest to her husband about her lovers. This means that there will be no secret conversations or secret meetings with men. It may also mean that the husband may want to approve of the men she has sex with.
The cuckold husband may want his wife to announce her sexuality by wearing revealing clothes. For example, he may accompany her to a night spot in a distant city and have her dress in ultra-revealing clothes. This can serve to get them both used to the resulting male attention. Rather than being jealous, having a wife that is seen by other men as sexually “hot” may provide him with an ego boost. (Dare we suggest that for some men hot wives are replacing hot cars as a source of pride.) Thus, while the male and female motivations might be quite different in the cuckold husband-hotwife phenomena, the ultimate goal can be the same.
The husband has to adjust to his wife not being sexually exclusive to him. He will have to deal with meeting men who have had or want to have sex with her. To compensate for any suspected loss of his virility, the husband may remind others of his own previous sexual escapades. At the same time to prove his lack of jealousy, he may freely admit to men that his wife regularly enjoys sex with different men, and he may even subtly offer her to select men. According to one man, “I like to set things in motion like that just to see what happens.”
The Quintessential Issue
What may seem desirable for the husband or wife while under the influence of testosterone, libido or fantasy, may later seem like a huge mistake. The result may be regret and marital estrangement.
Clearly, the cuckold husband/hotwife idea is at odds with cultural conditioning and human tendencies toward jealousy and possessiveness. Although these traits may not be desirable, they are the norm and must be recognized. Even assuming that both partners are okay with going in this direction, most of society isn’t. With most people there is still a sigma associated with a promiscuous wife and a husband that lets his wife have extramarital sex. Most people who find out about this will respond negatively toward both partners.
This can be a problem in a work environment where “character” is a part of job performance and promotion considerations. (A common male chauvinistic attitude with roots in the “wife as the husband’s property” notion says that a husband should keep his wife “under control,” and if she has affairs she definitely isn’t “under control.”)
While many couples are able to keep their sexual activities private, they may live with the fear that they may be found out. At the same time, self-employed people who live in large urban areas, or people who work around like-minded individuals probably won’t have this concern.
All this being said, given the ever-increasing number of affairs, and the emerging attitudes about condoned affairs in countries such as Japan, one wonders if somewhere down the road to cultural enlightenment U.S. society won’t be ready to accept open relationships. We seem to be in the early stages of that now.
Although the transition will certainly be bumpy, if we are able to shift our emphasis to love and commitment to hold relationships together, rather than the refutable doctrines about sexual exclusivity which simply cater to jealousies and insecurities, it would not only eliminate much heartache, but it would remove many of the “justifications” for dissolving relationships.